After years of not being able to bet on sports legally, the response to legal and regulated sports betting in New Jersey is greater than anticipated.
With its ever-growing popularity, NJ sportsbooks know that many are brand new to the world of betting and may be hesitant to place that first wager. This is why some online and mobile sportsbooks are offering free bets, just in time for NFL season.
From a sportsbook’s standpoint, the free bet offer makes sense because it gets more players through its virtual doors. From a player’s perspective, the free bet makes good sense since it carries little to no risk.
Best NJ Sportsbooks with Free Bet Bonuses
Understand the terms and conditions
The action and the prospect of winning are all part of what makes betting fun. And, so are the “freebies.”
Whether casino comps, a bonus credit or a free sports bet, these offers make you feel like a valued player and also help boost your bankroll.
Even though some sportsbooks are happy to extend these offers, it is not without terms and conditions.
To take advantage of a free sports bet offer, you need to register with the site first. Then, before you accept the offer, make sure you understand precisely what the offer requires on your end.
Sometimes you have to make a deposit and bet that money first, which then the sportsbook will match with a free bet. But there might be other conditions, too.
For example, the free bet offer might only be forthcoming if your cash bet loses. In addition, you may have to enter a bonus code to opt into the free bet offer.
How winning free sports bets are paid
Instead of putting up the cost of the bet, the sportsbook is staking the bet.
So, if you lose the free bet, it costs you nothing. But if you win, instead of getting back your winnings and your stake, you only get back your winnings.
Keep in mind that a free bet is only valid in the amount that the sportsbook indicates.
Therefore, if you accept a free bet offer at an NJ online sportsbook and win it, the amount you win could be less than the amount of the bet. Or if the winning free bet is a moneyline bet on an underdog, you will be paid more than the amount of the bet.
It is your responsibility to use the free bet allotment, so none of it goes to waste. However, you cannot divide the free bet money into multiple bets. You can choose one game and it must take place and be settled before the promotional offer expires.
In most instances, you must place the bet before the game starts. Unless the website states otherwise, specialty bets, including in-play bets, don’t qualify.
How to claim free bet offers
The specific steps you need to follow to claim a free bet often depend on the sportsbook.
For example, if the sportsbook is awarding the free bet as a match of your prior cash bet, the additional funds will become available to you immediately.
As soon as you make the qualifying cash bet, the corresponding credit that you can use for your free bet will post to your account instantly.
You must use the free bet within the stipulated promotional period.
Choose websites, offers that best suit your playing preferences
New Jersey players have many sportsbook options.
In fact, some NJ gambling websites, e.g., CaesarsCasino.com, BorgataCasino.com, GoldenNuggetCasino.com, and PlaySugarHouse.com, offer a sports betting platform as an extension of the NJ online casino website that you can access with a single login.
We are not saying that one website is superior to another. However, depending on your bankroll, bet size, frequency of play, types of sports and other playing preferences, one site may suit your needs better than another.
Keep in mind that NJ online sportsbooks typically extend their most generous bonuses to new players. While some offer special promotions for existing sports bettors, the free bet offer is usually only available to new players.
If you haven’t signed up for an account and think you might like to give one or more of them a try, be sure to compare the bonus offers.
Welcome offers, even those that all fall into the broad category of “free bet,” can vary considerably. So be sure to read the fine print, and make sure you know exactly what you need to do and how much time you have.
If you have questions or if any of the terms and conditions are not clear, be sure to contact the site’s customer support.
Types of free bonus offers in New Jersey
The following are the various types of free bets that NJ online sportsbooks are most likely to offer:
Risk-free bets are usually available to players who have not yet made any sports bets on that site.
Even if you have collected a welcome bonus and played casino games or poker on that platform, the free sports bet should still be available. As long as you haven’t also made any sports bets on the site, you likely can access the risk-free bet.
With a risk-free bet, if you bet with your money and the bet loses, it costs you nothing. That’s because you get your entire stake back to make another bet.
If you win your cash bet, the sportsbook won’t offer you a free bet. But 100% of your stake and winnings are being promptly returned to you.
If you lose your first cash bet, your net result will depend on how you fare with your free bet. The money for the free bet will initially appear as a credit to your account that you can only use for placing another sports bet. It is not cash back that you can withdraw with no further wagering.
Make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully and place the free bet on an allowable wager within the deadline. If you win your bet, you will most likely break even or close to it since you will only be paid your winnings, not the cost of the bet.
Depending on the surcharge, if any, or whether you are laying odds with the favorite or taking them with the underdog, the payout could be either less or greater than the cost of your losing cash bet. Whatever it is, it’s a lot better than losing.
In the worst possible scenario, you lose both bets. In reality, the only money you are down would be the amount of your cash bet since the second bet is free.
Example of an actual risk-free bet offer
Currently, Golden Nugget Online Sportsbook offers those a $100 risk-free bet to first-time customers.
To get started, make a single cash bet of $100. This bet can be a straight wager or an in-play bet, but not a parlay. If you lose this bet, your account will be credited with the full $100 within 24 hours.
Then, you have 90 days to use that money to make a free bet. This offer can only be accessed once.
Pros and cons
Risk-free bet offers typically return 100% of your initial cash bet when it loses to try to recoup the money with a free bet. This is more than fair. However, it would be better if those who win their first sports bet don’t get any free bet at all to reward them for signing up with the sportsbook.
Money-back free bets
Some NJ sportsbooks offer free bets in the form of money-back propositions.
These offers are similar to risk-free bet offers in that the sportsbook will only pay out if your qualifying bet loses. The difference is that you receive your refund as a credit that you can withdraw immediately — no further wagering is necessary.
In some instances, all you have to do is lose the bet to qualify. In other cases, there might be additional requirements.
For example, you might be restricted to a moneyline bet or an in-play bet. Or the terms might be even more specific, i.e., the game has to be lost by a certain margin or go into overtime or extra innings.
If you’re new to sports betting, we advise sticking to offers that are simple and straightforward.
Example of a money-back free bet offer
A first-time bettor at Borgata Sports who wagers between $25-$250 and loses that bet will have their entire stake refunded. That money will be credited to the player’s Borgata Online Casino account within three business days for immediate withdraw.
Players who prefer to use the refund for another sports wager can simply transfer the money back to their sports account.
Pros and cons
Once again, the money-back free bet offer, and just like the risk-free bet offer, includes nothing for players who win their first cash bet. However, those who lose their first bet have control over whether to bet the money back or not.
There is no obligation to place another sports bet and possibly lose that, too, if the player would rather not.
Match bet offers are a lot like the deposit-match bonuses at NJ online casinos. Instead of clearing the deposit match with casino play, you do so by making a sports bet.
In both cases, you will need to make a deposit to your online account. Typically, it needs to be a single deposit, meet the minimum requirements, and be your first deposit during the promotion period. Be sure to check the sportsbook as it may exclude certain deposit methods.
Sometimes the sportsbook will state a fixed amount for both the deposit and bonus, while, in other instances, you can pick any deposit within the specified range.
For example, the minimum deposit to qualify for the offer might be $25, but the sportsbook might match an initial deposit of up to $500.
Sportsbook deposit matches vs. casino deposit matches
NJ online casinos typically offer their best percentage deposit match bonuses as a welcome bonus to new customers.
However, they frequently offer deposit-match bonuses to existing customers as well.
The value of these offers depends not only on the size of the bonus but also on the percentage. The higher the percentage, the greater bang for your buck.
A 100% deposit match bonus for existing players are rare. In fact, these offers are typically 25% or lower.
Regardless, you must wager the bonus money you receive because it is not available for immediate withdrawal.
However, the critical difference between a deposit match offer at an online casino and an online sportsbook is how soon you can access the money.
An online casino will credit the deposit match bonus immediately. You can then use it, along with your funds, to meet the casino’s wagering requirements.
At a sportsbook, you don’t receive the bonus until after you first make a cash wager using your entire deposit. Only then, the sportsbook will credit your account with the same amount of money to make another sports bet.
The good news is it’s only one bet. So, as soon as the game is over, if you win, you can cash out immediately.
Example of a match bet offer
Caesars online sportsbook will match a new player’s first deposit and wager, up to $300.
When you make your first deposit, it needs to be a single deposit. You cannot deposit cash at the Caesars Atlantic City cage or through PayNearMe.
This offer is not contingent on you losing your initial sports bet; the bonus money is yours even if your qualifying bet wins.
You have up to seven days to use it, and you must use it in full. You cannot divide it into multiple bets.
As with all free bets, if you win, the sportsbook will only pay you your winnings, not the betting stake.
Pros and cons
The free match bet is the best type of bonus. It comes with a high cap and still matches your qualifying cash bet — dollar for dollar.
This type of free bet is better than the risk-free bet or money-back free bet because you don’t have to lose money to qualify.
Whenever a free match bet offer covers a range, instead of a fixed amount, you are best to utilize the maximum amount. It may be a while before another free bet offer rolls around, so don’t shortchange yourself.
After all, it’s a free bet.